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Slave Documents collection


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Slave Documents collection, 1793-1866 | University of Miami Special Collections

By Yvette Yurubi and Beatrice Skokan

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Collection Overview

Title: Slave Documents collection, 1793-1866Add to your cart.

ID: ASM0181

Extent: 0.25 Linear Feet

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

A growing collection of documents pertaining to the capture, purchase, bargaining, and freedom of slaves in North and South America during the 1700s and 1800s. The collection contains a variety of petitions, contracts, estate settlements, and ephemera that record the activities of slaves during that era and illustrate the relationship between slaves and their owners as well as local government policy regarding slave ownership in various parts of the Americas.

Subject/Index Terms

Slave records
Slaves - Emancipation
United States - History

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Method: Collaborative Archives from the African Diaspora (CAAD) documents acquired thanks to a grant from the Florida Blue Cross Shield, Summer 2013.

Related Materials:

The Collaborative Archives from the African Diaspora (CAAD)

Class Project Breathes Life into Historical Documents

UM Libraries Scholarly Repository - Slave Narratives Short Stories

For more information please see

Preferred Citation: Slave Documents Collection, Special Collections, University of Miami Libraries, Coral Gables, Florida.

Processing Information: Arranged by Yvette Yurubi under the supervision of Beatrice Skokan, Manuscripts Librarian. Items will be periodically added as they are purchased and collected.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Petition of Negro Nan for Freedom, 1855Add to your cart.
"Manuscript petition for new trial to secure freedom. Frederick County, Maryland, 22 October 1855. Folio sheet 1pp. Excellent condition. The document is a motion for a new trial for Negro Nan or Nancy to secure her freedom. Nan was the property of Robert B. Windsor, who died, but who was supposed  to grant freedom for Nan in his will. However, Nan lost in the first trial. This motion outlines five reasons for a new trial, including allegations that the jury was influenced by misrepresentations. The motion also declares that the jury's verdict was in direct opposition to the evidence. The document appears to be signed by her attorney."  -Nicholas D. Riccio Rare Books and Prints
Folder 2: Slaveholder Allows Slave to Work for Pay, 1828Add to your cart.
"Manuscript slave document presenting a Letter of Agreement. Monroe County, KY, 4 March 1828. 8vo leaf, one sheet. Slightly irregular shaped sheet, but not affecting text. The document spells out an agreement that allows a slave to work for pay. "The said Lettes Bland doth give her servant Black Jesse his liberty for the space of twelve months to work for himself by his paying her forty dollars in specie at the expiration of the said twelve months. A notation on the verso indicates the sum was paid in full." -Nicholas D. Riccio Rare Books and Prints
Folder 3: Free at Last, 1793Add to your cart.
"Manuscript Document of Empancipation. Halifax County, VA, 24 June 1793. One page, oblong 8vo 5 3/4 x 7 3/4. Slightly trimmed almong the bottom edge with the loss of a signature or official mark. The document gives freedom to a 14-year-old girl named Betsey Simons. No reason is given by Beverly Milnez, the former slave owner, for this somewhat unusual act of granting freedom to a fourteen-year-old child. Perhaps, other family members were already free, and this act completed the process. Interestingly, the former owner left her mark and not a signature." -Nicholas D. Riccio Rare Books and Prints
Folder 4: Letter Addresses the Fate of a Captured Slave, ca. 1822-1826Add to your cart.
"Autographed Letter signed as Governor of Maryland regarding a captured slave on free soil. [Maryland: circa 1822-1826]. Folio leaf written on both sides, not dated but docketed in Stevens' hand "copy of a letter to Messrs. Brown and Morris of Philadelphia relative to Jacobs." Some browning and aging but near fine. A letter from Samuel Stevens (1778-1860), governor of Maryland 1822-1826, to Philadelphia attorneys Brown and Morris in which Stevens refers to a request from the governor of Pennsylvania to arrest a Mr. Arnold Jacobs for taking captive one Emory Sadler, a man of color. This action was viewed as contrary to an act of the Commonwealth of 27th March 1820. However, while Stevens acknowledges the illegality of taking a slave from free soil and even admits Jacobs should be punished, he states that unless papers manumitting Sadler are presented, he can do nothing. This, in spite of a letter from Jacobs to Sadler's mother that indicated he had freed Sadler- "which is liable to be revoked at any minute." Stevens adds, "Think not for a moment that I justify the conduct of Jacobs..." -Nicholas D. Riccio Rare Books and Prints
Folder 5: A Promissory Note for a Negro Boy, 1857Add to your cart.

Text reads: "On or before the first of Jany (January) eighteen hundred and firfty eight, we promise and bind our selves heirs to pay or cause to be paid unto A.B. Vonneison(sic) or asignes the just and full sum of one hundred and twenty dollars good money of Virginia for the hifre of a Negrow boy Henry. The Negrow is to be released on the 25 of Dec next and to have the usual clothing hat and blanket. The said Negrow is not to carry(?) rafts, nor sail vessels nor steamboats nor work in a saw mill.

Witness our hands and seals this the 1 of Jany 1857. Jacob Vaiden (seal), I.C. Vaiden (seal)." - Glen Books

Folder 6: Estate Settlement and Hire of Slaves in South Carolina, 1865-1866Add to your cart.
"Three small holograph documents. Dated 1865. Good. First document (16 x 6 cm): Small partial sheet on which one of the heirs to the estate of I.C. Haile acknowledges receipt of four named slaves valued at $2400 plus $15 in gold coin. Second document (15 x 12 cm): Two persons named Haile promise to pay B.W. Massey, who is listed as executor on first document and as acting for Laura J. Haile, the sum of $200 on January 1, 1866 for the hire of two Negroes named Bob & Polly. Third document (20 x 21 cm): Pencil notes calculating or listing the value of seven groups of slaves (two to five in a group) -- value of the groupings ranged from $2000 to $2400; we assume this was for purposes of distribution to the heirs. A receipt dated 1876 from a commission merchant on Fort Mill, SC came with these documents."
Folder 7: Negroes at work near Cristobal, Panama. Stereoscopic Photo., n.d.Add to your cart.
"Stereoscopic card showing black men with wheelbarrows and shovels with caption, 'Negroes at work near Cristobal, Panama.' Approx. 7 x 3 1/2."

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